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March 3, 2010

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Island of Oahu

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We landed 10 minutes early at 11:30 a.m. local time, and I was pumped to be back in the islands. Then again, who isn't? My PR friend Lacy, who works for the Four Seasons, was kind enough to pick me up on her day off and take me to my hotel in Waikiki.

We pulled up to Hotel Renew and the valet and clerk behind the front desk were very friendly. They informed me that check-in wasn't until 3 p.m. (like most hotels) as checkout is at 12 p.m. and the hotel was full so they needed to clean my room. They gave me a lemongrass scented cold towel and a glass of chilled pineapple juice in addition to access to a changing room. They also held my bags which was perfect since I was planning on taking Lacy to lunch for picking me up. I didn't feel like working so I talked Lacy into going for a hike and showing me a local beach.

We drove the Kalaniana'ole Highway (Hwy. 72) along the coast. We went right past Hanauma Bay (one of the most touristy places to snorkel) and made a pit stop at the Halona Blow Hole. It wasn't high tide or windy so the hole was spouting. Next to the blowhole on the right is a beach that they used in the movie From Here to Eternity. Parking is free at both.

Next stop was the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline. The parking lot was packed with cars that belonged to both tourists and locals. The hike is an easy one-mile trek (each way) along a paved sidewalk up to a lookout atop the headlands. At the top the scenery is awe-inspiring. Especially the migrating humpback whale. Every time I looked for more than a minute I would see one. FYI: As many as 10,000 humpbacks come to Hawaii every year to mate, give birth, and nurse their calves. Hawaii's humpback whale season runs from November through May (January through March is the peak). I just love Hawaii's colors. The different shades of blues from the ocean to the sky. And the greens of the grass, trees, and cacti (I didn't know Hawaii had so much cactus). At the top I admired the paragliders hovering above and the historic Makapu'u lighthouse. All of it makes for beautiful pictures, so don't leave your camera in the car. Actually, don't ever leave your valuables in the car in Hawaii or anywhere else. For more info on Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline, see this Hawaii State Park link.

The walk took about 90 minutes and we were both starving. We drove along the back side of Oahu, where the lush green jagged mountains reminded me so much of French Polynesia, and stopped at a local favorite. Keneke's is in Waimanalo and is popular for their plate lunches, shave ice (don't call them snow cones), and ice cream. I had a plate lunch ($7.50) with one choice of meat, rice, and mac Sslad (the latter had too much mayo). We then each had a shave ice ($2.75). For my three flavors I chose lilkoi (passion fruit), lychee, and guava = yum! For more info on Keneke's, see their website.

A few miles further down the road on the windward coast of Oahu is Lanikai Beach. It's a suburb of Kailua-this is where President Obama has been renting his beach house (the Paul Mitchell Estate). Lanikai Beach is in an upper-class residential area that has no public parking lots, restrooms, showers, or lifeguards. The only way to get to the beach is through public access paths, but once you get on the small beach (half a mile long) you realize why it's been constantly ranked among the best beaches in world. It makes Waikiki Beach look like a dump, and I love Waikiki, but that's how nice Lanikai is. FYI: The shortest way to get between Lanikai and Waikiki is the Pali Highway, which cuts through the mountains and takes 30 minutes.

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Pictures From

The Trip


Hotel Renew


Front Desk


Driving The Coast




Beach in the movie From Here to Eternity


Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline


Makapu'u lighthouse


View From Top


Keneke's Shave Ice


Looks Like the South Pacific


House Obama Rents


Lanikai Beach



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Amy L. Scott
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